After a couple of days of processing the live-stream set that I witnessed on Sunday, I realized what Flume did needed to be talked about and acknowledged.
Not everyone can pull off wearing a silver astronaut-style suit, but Flume did, and with ease. For those that caught his set from Osheaga and Lollapalooza and those that watched via live-stream, we can all agree what he did was truly memorable. How could we ever forget that set? Flume said good-bye to relying on visuals and instead, he turned his set into performance art.
And quite the masterpiece it was. Flume 100% put his entire heart and soul on that stage. His music already contains the ability to make people feel, but what he unleashed was totally authentic and raw, something that went further than just the music. It’s as if you could practically feel the emotions he felt as he destroyed various items on-stage, potted plants, played while sitting on the ground, and danced around uncontrollably. He worked through his emotions in each song and ended the set looking completely happy.
As he began his set at Lollapalooza, those watching via live-stream saw up-close that he was using spray paint on stage. He would later go on to throw the spray can on the ground during “Is it Cold in the Water,” along with other miscellaneous items he had on a desk (RIP to those flower pots). There are different interpretations that could be said of this, but I took it as him destroying the external and saying goodbye to the Skin era.
When “Insane” was finally played, Flume laid on the ground amongst the rubble that he threw previously. As this is happening, visuals and interpretive dancers begin to overlay simultaneously on the camera feed of him laying on the ground, a visceral visual experience that we need to relive below.
The entire set bounced back and forth between emotions: joyful, ominous, and straight-up pissed off. During “Wall Fuck,” he used a sledgehammer to viscously destroy a printer. In an interview with Interview Magazine in 2016, he explained that the sounds in “Wall Fuck” were sounds that hadn’t been able to be humanly created until recently [in 2016]. In another interview, he also explains that during the creation of “Wall Fuck,” he was very angry and his feelings were locked. The destruction of the printer could be represented as his release.
Losing it & new friends
During “Lose It,” the live-stream showed different graphics that resembled images from his past album cover art aesthetic. During the single Flumed openly played with a grind wheel on-stage, as the live-stream cuts back and forth between these random images of weapons and to his new power tool. Many of the graphics were guns, swords, and knives in bright and gaudy patterns, the same sort of style that many instantly associate with Flume. There’s definitely underlying commentary here, and I’d love to know what the thought process behind this was.
Joining alongside him and his crazy antics, Flume brought quite a few friends on stage including Reo Cragun, Vera Blue, slowthai, and random interpretive dancers. Vera Blue jumped on stage with him to perform “Never Be Like You” and their new unreleased collaboration, potentially called “Rushing Back.” Her ethereal aesthetic was the perfect match for Flume’s otherworldly stage presence.
For his “Tennis Court” remix, he enlisted the help of some interpretive dancers, which was quite the kooky, but fitting addition. The dancers continued to move with the song, as Flume bounced around to the beat in his silver suit, going from one side of the stage to the other.
The set consisted of 22 songs, including favorites such as “Sleepless,” “Never Be Like You,” “Hyperreal,” and “MUD.” Reo Cragun joined on stage for their newly released collaboration “Quits.” Although the single didn’t have the same effect live as it does on the new EP, chalk it up to nervousness from Reo.
As “You & Me” closed out the epic hour and a half madness, Flume, Vera Blue, and Reo all hopped off the stage and began to walk through the crowd. As someone who’s seen a lot of live performances, I’ve never seen someone look so happy and in their element. Flume took us on a spiritual and mental journey and definitely made both Osheaga and Lollapalooza his bitch. He entranced thousands and proved many things, including: Flume’s artistry goes much deeper than just his music.
If you’re attending Flume Red Rocks tonight or tomorrow, I envy you.
Featured image via Flume Twitter.